I’m sure we’ve all seen some videos on Instagram of an athlete doing some crazy looking footwork through agility ladders. I wouldn’t blame you watching them and thinking that agility ladders are the only way to get fast feet, but as many have found out the hard way
agility ladders don’t have a great impact on improving your sports performance.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not discounting the use of ladders all together, I utilise them for rhythm and coordination patterning. However, there is limited transfer from the agility ladders to improved sports performance. If you are looking to develop lighting fast agility, follow these 4 drills and you will see massive agility improvements that will transfer directly to your sport performance on game day.
Drill 1. Lateral Shuffle to Acceleration Return
To improve agility, we need to improve how quickly we can move side-to-side. Enter the lateral shuffle to acceleration, big focus for this drill is athletes staying low and small steps through the lateral portion then sprint as hard as possible in the acceleration as if reacting from a turnover.
Drill 2. Pro Shuttle Agility Drill
Also known as 5-10-5 agility drill. It is a widely used drill in combine testing and for good reason. We want athletes to cover short distances quickly and fluidly change directions, which is why the pro-shuttle drill is one of the best bang for your buck COD drills to improve your agility and be lighting quick. Hint – under 4.00s and you’ll be in rare air in all elite sports.
Drill 3. 3 Cone Mirror Drill
A drill that we utilise quite often to improve the reaction time of our athletes whilst also having them sprint following a decision made based on reaction. By having someone yell out which colour to go throughout the drill then having them sprint and beat an opponent makes it one hell of an agility drill. Working on both reaction and sprint speed in one drill, also did I mention it is one of the most fun to do.
Drill 4. 4 Cone ¼ Ladder
Yeah, so this INCLUDES a ladder... But not the way they are usually used 😂 .
This drill requires athletes to accelerate, slow down and have fast feet in a lateral direction in between cones. The purpose of us using cones rather than a small ladder in this case is to make sure athletes are getting their feet up off the ground. Following the sidewards movement athletes then need to sprint forwards as explosively as possible.
One of the keys to developing fast agility through the above drills is the intent or effort that they are completed with.
As with most things in performance training, 💯intent is required in each of these drills to get the most out of them. This means that rest times are extremely important during each effort. 1-2 minutes rest between each rep of a drill is enough time to make sure we can keep a high intensity, but not too long that you will begin to cool down.